Doctoral education

Beginning your doctoral studies

Information for doctoral students at the beginning of their studies: what to do after receiving your study place, what a doctoral personal study plan is, what the curriculum is and how to finance your studies etc. This is the first page of the 3-page Doctoral student study guide.

Two doctoral students looking at symbols on pieces of paper, with imaginary doctoral hats floating above their heads.

Use the table of contents above for a quick scan of the contents of this page.

Doctoral student study guide is maintained by the Doctoral education services (Research services). We use the title doctoral student in this guide. The title doctoral researcher is used in employment matters.

After admission to doctoral studies

Welcome to our doctoral community! All new doctoral students take part in the Aalto Doctoral Orientation Days at the start of the studies. Make sure to handle all the practicalities too - we are here to help you!

All doctoral students have a student status at Aalto, but many of you also have a work contract. Do note that application to doctoral programme and study right is a different process from the recruitment to a doctoral researcher's paid work contract. If you are unsure of your status, please contact the Doctoral education services.

Welcome to Aalto University!

Aalto Doctoral Orientation Days

Key information for the first year of doctoral studies - and later!

Aalto logo standing in purple coloured lights

Vice president Petri Suomala's welcome speech for new students

Petri Suomala welcomes new students to the Aalto community, whose strengths include collaboration between people of diverse backgrounds and fields of study.

Aalto-yliopiston opetuksesta vastaava vararehtori Petri Suomala

Doctoral personal study plan & curriculum

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Doctoral personal study plan (DPSP)

Doctoral students plan their studies and research by using the five parts of the DPSP.

Doctoral education
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Doctoral courses and curriculum

Find courses for doctoral students & information about individual studies and credit transfer.

Doctoral education

Doctoral thesis and researcher skills

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Doctoral thesis at Aalto University

Resources, guidelines and information on doctoral theses at Aalto University

Doctoral education
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Researcher skills for doctoral students

Find resources to improve your skills related to data management, research ethics, IPR, dissemination of results and more!

Doctoral education

Funding your doctoral studies

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Funding your doctoral studies

Ideas and advice for finding and applying for funding for doctoral studies and research, conferences etc.

Doctoral education

Full-time and part-time studies

All doctoral students are defined as either full-time or part-time students. Doctoral students may not change their official mode of study by themselves, but it can be changed by application if necessary. Please apply for change in case the status changes for minimum 6 months (e.g. funding).

Full-time doctoral studies (4 years)

The doctoral personal study plan (DPSP) of the student reflects that they plan to complete their degree within four years of the start of their doctoral studies. Typically full-time students have a salaried doctoral researcher position at Aalto University, receive individual funding for doctoral studies or work full-time towards their doctoral thesis at a research institute or private company (at least 80% of work hours dedicated to doctoral studies).

CHEM: Full-time students are required to have funding allocated for the doctoral studies for at least the first 12 months. Full-time students working outside of Aalto University must provide a document of their employers' approval for full-time doctoral studies (min. 80%).

ELEC & SCI: Full-time students are required to have funding allocated for the doctoral studies for at least the first 6 months (e.g. project funding, a personal grant or funding from an employer). Full-time students working outside of Aalto University must provide a document of their employers' approval for full-time doctoral studies (min. 80%).

Part-time doctoral studies (4-8 years)

The doctoral personal study plan (DPSP) of the student reflects that they plan to complete their degree within four to eight years of the start of their doctoral studies. Typically they have not secured (long-term) funding yet and are not employed by the University as salaried doctoral researchers.

Changing your status (mode of study)

Normally it is recommended to change your status if your mode of study changes for at least 6 months or more. First discuss the change with your supervising professor and then submit the application form (Change of supervising professor, thesis advisor, research field or mode of study) to the Doctoral education services of your doctoral programme.

Doctoral student forms (aalto.fi)

Language of doctoral thesis and degree

The language of instruction at Aalto doctoral programmes is, in principle, English but the doctoral thesis can also be completed in Finnish or in Swedish (in the field of business only in English or in Finnish).

Normally, the language of your degree is the language in which you write your thesis (English, Finnish or Swedish).

If your degree language is English, you will receive two original copies of your degree certificate: one in English and one in Finnish/Swedish. If your degree language is Finnish/Swedish, you will receive one original copy of the degree certificate in Finnish/Swedish and an official translation in English.

Changing the language of the degree and thesis

You can apply to change the language of your doctoral thesis and the degree on reasonable grounds. The change of language requires updating your doctoral personal study plan and getting the approval of your supervising professor.

Submit the free format application with shortly explained grounds for the change in writing to your doctoral programme, with your updated doctoral personal study plan, and confirmation by email from your supervising professor.

International joint supervision of doctoral studies

Aalto encourages doctoral degrees which are jointly supervised with international partner. These agreements are referred as Cotutelle Agreements. Arrangements for joint supervision, or ‘cotutelle agreements’ are made regarding the studies and supervision of a single doctoral candidate. Such students are awarded degrees and the associated certificates from both universities.

Aalto University aims at high quality of international standards in research and education. International cooperation is an integral part of the doctoral education of Aalto University, and one method for such cooperation is arrangements for the joint supervision of doctoral degrees. A student may earn a degree under a joint supervision arrangement between two universities provided that joint supervision is based on genuine scientific cooperation, brings added value to the doctoral thesis and enhances the quality of the research.

Cotutelle agreements should be made at the beginning of the studies but it requires a study right at an Aalto doctoral programme before any agreement can be made.

Doctoral education services

Doctoral student study guide

Two doctoral students looking at symbols on pieces of paper, with imaginary doctoral hats floating above their heads.

Beginning your doctoral studies

Doctoral students at the beginning of studies: information on arrival, doctoral personal study plan, curriculum and financing etc.

Doctoral education
Two doctoral students, one working with a laptop and one with pen on paper, both with imaginary doctoral hats floating above their heads.

During your doctoral studies

Doctoral students throughout their studies: information on thesis writing, research work, supervision and mobility etc.

Doctoral education
Drawing of two doctoral students each holding a paper, with doctor's hats shining on their heads.

Finalising your doctoral studies

Doctoral students at the end phases of studies: information on pre-examination, defence, publishing the thesis and graduation, etc.

Doctoral education
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